Category Archives: Travel

Baby Showers and Getting Back to the Blog

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I bet you all thought I’d forgotten about this blog, didn’t you?

Well, sorry.

No such luck.

I’ve been meaning to post some pictures for ages but what with months of horrible morning sickness and life with a two year old, I’ve been a bit distracted.

In fact, I think the last time I actually posted something on here was way back in February.

Five months ago.

And now that I am six months pregnant with Josh’s little brother, it’s probably time I should get back to it. I’m sure all the family will like some photos of the new little man once he decides to make his arrival.

We just got back from a trip to California, which was amazing as always.

While we were there, my mom and aunt threw a baby shower for me, which was so lovely.

It was just perfect; lunch out overlooking the ocean, fun games and close family. So relaxed and enjoyable. I can’t thank them enough. And of course it means so much to me that this baby will have some new clothes and more importantly, photos for his baby book!

Here are just a few of the pictures from the shower.

Thank you all so much for coming out and for planning all of this. This baby sure is one lucky guy to have such an awesome group of women in his life!

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All Aboard

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Trains and I, we have a love-hate relationship.

Growing up in California, the land of the car, trains seemed almost otherworldly.

Very glamourous. Very romantic. Very 1940s.

So moving to England and actually riding on trains to commute to work was a big slap in the face. All that scrambling to get a seat. Grumpy passengers. Piles of rubbish all over. The strong scent of urine in the air.

It didn’t exactly live up to expectations.

But now of course, Josh loves trains.

Probably because he doesn’t have to commute on them.

And the family thought it would be fun to take a train ride while we were out in California, from Ventura to Santa Barbara.

And they were right.

It was fun and Josh loved it.

We had to wait a while for the train to actually turn up. I think it was at least a half an hour late. Which meant plenty of time to hang out and play with the family.

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And, of course, find some toys with Uncle Terry.

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Once we were finally on the train, Josh went crazy, running up and down the aisles telling everyone to “go hide!”

Apparently trains are good places to play hide and seek.

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The view was pretty nice too.

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A short time later, we were in Santa Barbara.

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We went and walked around a bit down by the pier, enjoying all that California December sunshine.

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After lunch, we went and wandered up State Street.

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We ended up going to see the courthouse there, which is such a beautiful building.

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Though Josh was far more interested in his space shuttle than looking at any architecture.

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It was such a lovely day.

It probably helps that this was the view from the train on the way back.

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I imagine that helps make commuting just that little bit nicer in California.

Even if the train still smells like pee.

Back in Blighty

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Well, we’re back.

Back in England.

And I’m missing California and all my family and friends.

A lot.

But what better way to work through my sadness than by catching up on this blog that I have been neglecting these last few weeks while I was having way too much fun in California?

I’ve been asking around and I think the best way to approach this it to work through some of our adventures we went on while in California, one at a time. That way it won’t be photo overload, though let me just say, I took a lot of pictures.

A lot.

But I know the family loves seeing them and it makes me less sad, so there you have it.

And to start it all off, here are some photos from a trip we took down to the California Science Centre in Los Angeles.

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Josh is still obsessed with anything with wheels, so it was great to see him running around so excited.

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We had tickets to see the space shuttle Endeavour and I had spent the week prior talking all about the shuttle to Josh, showing him videos of it taking off and making its final flight over California.

And while I think Josh enjoyed it, he seemed a bit daunted by how big it was. He just kept saying “it’s very big” and “can we go to the toy shop?”

Oh well.

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We did end up going to the toy shop afterwards and bought Josh a miniature space shuttle, which he loved, and of course, managed to break after all of about ten minutes playing with it.

Nothing that a little glue won’t fix.

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It was such a wonderful museum though, with far more interactive exhibits for children than any museum we’ve been to in London.

We’ll definitely be going back again.

Maybe not for the space shuttle.

But definitely for the fish.

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The fish were a big hit.

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The Little Sand Storm

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We’re here!

Josh and I, and all of our passports, have safely made it to California.

And just so he knows someday, Josh was the BEST little traveler.

For the whole 11 hour flight, complete with turbulence which meant he had to stay buckled in his seat the last four hours, he was an angel. And even though he didn’t sleep a wink the entire flight, we had no tantrums; he was easygoing, listened to me and was just an all around awesome little travel buddy.

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So thank you Josh.

I’ll have to try and remember this for when, on the return flight, inevitably it will all go horribly wrong and I will be tearing my hair out with a screaming two year old.

Then again, Tim will be there next time to hand off to, so perhaps it’s not so bleak after all.

But, as I said, we are here in California; jet lagged and enjoying the sunshine.

And since Josh continues to insist upon getting up at ungodly hours of the morning (one day it was 1:30am), we have gone out several days to the beach already, taking some early morning strolls.

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Josh hasn’t really been around the ocean much, so I expected him to be a bit more hesitant walking near the water.

But he surprised me and did just the opposite, rolling around in the sand, reminding me very much of his Aunt Erin when she was little.

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He just loved running around and throwing sand up into the air, rolling around in it, rubbing it onto his clothes.

This kid loves sand.

One surfer passing by laughed seeing Josh playing and called him a little sand storm.

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I think I’d rather have a sand storm than a snow storm any day….

There’ll Be Bluebirds Over…

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This blog post is a bit delayed, but I know the family and mom’s friends will want an update of her summer holiday; that and some of the photos turned out really nice I think.

Last Monday, we decided to hop in the car again and head to East Sussex.

In the morning we drove to Bodiam Castle, probably the only castle I’ve ever seen still surrounded completely by a moat.

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Built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, there isn’t much left inside the castle.

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But Josh had a great time running around, climbing up the towers and exploring the castle.

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In the afternoon, we headed further south into Kent and to the white cliffs of Dover.

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The cliffs were beautiful, but from the hike along the top, I felt you couldn’t really see them that well.

Thankfully, Tim indulged me and we made the tiring hike down the cliffs to the beach.

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Close up, the cliffs really are white, almost like a chalky rock which comes off on your hands when you touch it.

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All the effort was worth it to see the cliffs from the beach, looking up at them.

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At least I thought so.

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Poor Josh had already fallen asleep by that point.

Brighton’s Rocks

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Anxious not to let all of my newly acquired British driving skills go to waste, Josh, my mom and I drove down to Brighton today.

I’ve always loved Brighton.

I think it all stems from The End of the Affair and this vision of London during World War II.

That and Brighton’s proximity to the ocean.

That always helps.

Even if the beach is made of rocks.

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Which, I might add, was a huge hit with Josh.

So he didn’t feel left out among all the other British children, we brought his bucket and shovel along. And he had a blast playing there, the irony of shovelling rocks into a sand pail seemingly lost on him.

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He had so much fun in fact, that he had to be put in time out twice for throwing rocks; one about the size of a golf ball, which thankfully I managed to notice and dodge at the last minute.

I tried to explain to him he needs to yell “catch” first and make eye contact with me, but that might be a bit advanced at this stage.

What is it with boys and throwing everything?

And he really throws well too.

A little too well…

Flying rocks aside, we had a lovely time there, playing on the beach.

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When it got too cold, we went and explored the pier, which strikes me as the British equivalent to the Santa Monica Pier, complete with roller coasters and candy floss (aka cotton candy).

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I even bought a bag of the candy floss to take home.

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It sounded much more appealing than the cockles and whelks.

A Visit to the Real Downton Abbey

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We’re back from Cornwall, but the exploring hasn’t stopped.

My mom is a big fan of Downton Abbey and we found out that the house used for filming is not too far a drive from us, though after driving to Cornwall, anything seems like a short drive!

So today we went and paid a visit to Highclere Castle, which anyone who watches Downton Abbey will recognise, is where the show is filmed.

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Photography is not allowed inside the castle so you’ll have to trust me that it is a lovely house.

We walked around and toured the house and afterwards went to an exhibit at the house on Egypt, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon being the man who, along with Howard Carter, discovered the tomb of Tutankamuhn.

We then went and walked around the grounds a bit, which were beautiful. We found the secret garden and had a wander around.

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Though I think Josh especially enjoyed running around on all that nice green grass.

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After we left the castle, we ended up stumbling upon The Swan Inn and had a late lunch.

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The food was great, but perhaps the best thing was the pub had a massive garden in the back, complete with a little creek and lots of grass for Josh to run around and explore in.

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Enough to keep him occupied so that we even managed to order some dessert.

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Which, when dining out with a toddler, is a very rare occurrence indeed.